Dec 7, 2018
This episode's structure is a little different than you're used to. First join us for 35 minutes as Cass chats with Bonnie from episode 162. They discuss painting murals in her hometown and ethical choices for living on earth, given this is the only one we have.
Then eavesdrop on a conversation between Marie and Cass for an hour as they work through the dynamic of the podcast with Marie as the new co-host. Enjoy scintillating topics such as misogyny, tokenism, racism, sexism, intersectional feminism, and patriarchy.
Lastly we lament the loss of our recording with Mrs. Betty Bower's creator and writing: Andrew Bradley. Saying yes to what is doesn't always feel good.
We interview people you don’t know, about a subject no one wants to talk about. We hope to encourage people in the process of deconstructing their faith and help curb the loneliness that accompanies it. We think the world is a better place when more people live by sight, not by faith. Please subscribe to our podcast, and leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts. Also, we offer these podcasts freely. And your support truly makes a difference. You can support us monetarily in two easy ways: you can pledge a monthly donation through Patreon. that’s www.patreon.com/eapodcast, or leave a lump-sum donation through PayPal at our website, www.everyonesagnostic.com.
Consider this phrase: my perception is my reality. First let me say that this is true. It's true to the individual. Maybe also to people groups or even nations. Disagreements, even wars, can be caused by different perceptions that create different realities. The parable of the blind men and an elephant places a group of blind men engaging an elephant for the first time. They each touch a different part of the elephant's body such as the ear, leg, trunk or tusk. They then describe the elephant based on their limited experience and upon insisting that they are right and the others are lying they come to blows. The moral of the parable is that humans have a tendency to claim absolute truth based on their limited, subjective perception as they ignore other people's limited, subjective perception which may be equally true. So while YOUR perception is YOUR reality, it is not necessarily the whole picture. It doesn't mean you're wrong AND it doesn't mean that differing positions aren't also right. When perceptions become mutually exclusive, the opposing parties may be in denial and insist on the rightness of their narrow view. Convincing them otherwise can be extremely difficult if not impossible. We form a bias around a perception and often don't want to be bothered with the facts. Humans once believed that the earth was flat. It must be, just look at it! We thought the sun and stars circled the earth because it looked that way. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for holding the belief that the Earth revolves around the Sun, which was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church. ... Galileo agreed not to teach the heresy anymore and spent the rest of his life under house arrest.
One social research study examined a pool of people’s opinions about federal welfare programs. The researchers found that the majority of people were highly-misinformed about the nature and scope of these programs, and that the people who were the least-informed about them generally expressed the highest degree of confidence in their knowledge. Furthermore, the researchers found that presenting people with facts about these welfare programs did little to change people’s opinion about them. However, in a follow-up study, the researchers discovered that tweaking the way they presented the facts made people respond more positively to the new evidence. In this follow-up, people were first asked to estimate the percentage of the national budget that is allocated towards welfare. Then, they were also asked what percent of the budget they believed should be spent on welfare. Posing these questions back-to-back led participants to contrast their perception of reality with their preferred level of spending, before they were told what portion of the budget is spent on welfare in reality. This meant that most of them had to process the fact that not only is the federal-spending lower than they thought, but it is also lower than the portion of the budget that they believed should be allocated to welfare.
Thus the value of agnosticism: It guards against certainty. Much blood has been shed based on certainties that were just not true.
Since perceptions can seem like realities, we build narratives which become foundations on which we build assumption upon assumption. When we discover that the assumption upon which all the others were based, it falls like a house of cards. To the degree in which we were invested in that narrative is the degree to which we will be embarrassed and maybe even traumatized. We were living a lie.
them that we then act on or even live by. My wife and I were at a music concert once that was general admission. I saw some empty seats and approached them but a guy had his left leg stretched across them. We moved on thinking he was saving them. We noticed that no one ever came to sit there and he was just stretching out, hogging those seats, or so I thought. Turns out he had a full leg cast under his pants and couldn't straighten his leg.
I had lunch this week with a friend who shared that she had a lucid dream when she was a young mother where she was visited by a messenger. The message was that her toddler son was going to die before her but not until after her father died. Fast forward 40 years and the woman's father died. That message had haunted her her entire life and now that her father was dead, she was riddled with fear and anxiety that her son was going to die at any moment. She built a narrative on a nocturnal brain fart. Sometimes we give perceptions way too much power and unmerited influence over our lives.
My issue with this way of living is that a person is steered by external data. And the key problem there is "steered." Incoming data is unavoidable and amoral. The only person not interpreting events and circumstances is unconscious. However, if one does not have an inner core that is awake, aware and vibrant, they will likely live their life as one with no agency. They're childish. They are tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every conspiracy theory. What Jesus called, "a reed swayed by the wind." For lack of a better word, I'll call this thing the soul of a person. Souless people need to be told what to think, how to act, what to wear, who to be. They have no core. They are robotic, only able to do what their programmer coded. Computers that can adapt and think for themselves are called Artificial Intelligence. Perhaps this soul I'm talking about could also be called intelligence. Intelligence is one's ability to understand something. We're hearing more and more stories of people losing their parents or siblings to Fox News. Two years ago, on Episode 126, I interview Jen Senko who'd made a documentary film called "The Brainwashing of My Dad." If people are hollow inside, a vacuum is created that takes in counterfeit nourishment, pureed baby-food, served up by charlatans and conmen to the laziest, least intuitive minds over which they can easily overpower and influence for their causes--mainly the inflation of their wealth.
The condition of soulessness--a person with no agency--fosters a type of insecurity that disables that person from bringing their person authentically into the room, precisely because they don't have one. No soul, no ownership of their ability to discern their world and make choices. Due to non-use, the muscles that empower one to think for oneself are atrophied. And they are preyed on by the greedy. And here we find ourselves. Corporations spotted the credulity of Christians and the GOP and corralled them into their fold to think, propagate, and vote their agenda. Wanna know why a large majority of Christians support Trump? They have no soul. The filled their God-shaped void with God alright. Human's imaginary gods have the substance of cotton candy--they leave you hungry and wanting more, the steady diet of which will make you lazy and fat. I believe there is no void. We're not born with it at least. We create the void by believing that we're not good enough, not worthy, not powerful, insignificant without a higher power. Those of us who left that brainwashing, soul-stealing lie have set out to rediscover our soul, our inner core, that was there all the time. Not so we can get an identity or "find ourselves," but so that we can begin living from that core toward the world, not the other way around. There is no self to find. There's only you showing up in the moment as whatever your soul wants to do or say in real time. No one and nothing should tell you who to be; you already are.
I'll close with a prose by David Whyte posted by my friend Fiona. It's called
We tend to focus on, and speak about the soul-life of an individual in terms of spiritual comfort and deep nourishment, qualities which are a central, and abiding dynamic of its presence, but the equally unsettling and disturbing quality about this strange, often wild and courageous faculty of belonging inside us we have come to name ‘the soul’ is its ruthless, and almost tidal wish to find its own way to a fuller union with the world. The soul is a planner’s nightmare, the career counselor’s central puzzle, the biographer’s conundrum, the saboteur of the puritanical and the unimaginative; an internal abiding spring that is both a source and a flow: an internal stranger at the door of our outer life about to break everything apart; a pilgrim often suddenly more in love with the horizon than its home; and most disturbingly, someone who would much rather fail spectacularly at their own life than succeed, imprisoned drably by the ordinary, at someone else’s.